TWRA officers warn hunters to keep deadly disease out of Tennessee

MADISON COUNTY, Tenn. — Hunting season is right around the corner, so if you plan to hunt, it’s important to be aware of chronic wasting disease in big game animals.

It’s safe to say the deer population in our part of the state is plentiful.

“They’re everywhere,” said Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency officer Brian Thompson.

And TWRA officers like Thompson plan to keep it that way by keeping a deadly disease out.

“All states are concerned that chronic wasting disease will show up in their states,” he said.

Thompson says there is no evidence chronic wasting disease has spread to Tennessee, but it has spread to surrounding states.

With hunting season just around the corner, it’s important hunters abide by the rules.

“If you hunt in another state, you can’t bring it back to Tennessee without following our regulations,” he said. “You can bring in the antlers, but what you cannot bring back is the spinal cord and bones.”

Officers say animals affected with the disease lose awareness and literally start wasting away.

TWRA officer Alan Peterson says the disease affects an animal’s brain and spinal cord.

“It will lose weight and become skin and bones. That’s why it’s called chronic wasting disease,” he said. “They lose their fear of people, and eventually they just die.”

But officer Thompson says they are doing their best to keep the deer population healthy and hunting season going.

“Along with the help from the hunters, abide by the regulations and don’t bring the deer in from the CWC states. Hopefully we will continue to keep CWC out of the state of Tennessee,” he said.

To see a full list of states that have been affected by chronic wasting disease and the rules of out-of-state hunting, click here.